OCEAN CITY – In the brief this week, bad weather could not drown the enthusiasm for two new special events and Rodney the Lifeguard got rave reviews after his first public appearances.
Rodney Shines In Big Cities
As part of a three-day media tour, Mayor Rick Meehan, Rodney the Lifeguard (portrayed by actor Blake Adams), Ward Kovacs of the Ocean City Beach Patrol and staffers from MGH advertising, traveled to Baltimore, Washington DC and Philadelphia this week to spread the word about the resort to anyone who would listen.
“In advertising, it’s all about trying to get as much attention as you can in a professional manner,” said Meehan. “We knew that not everyone was going to be our target audience, but we were up there to get our message out and get people excited about coming to Ocean City.”
Rodney set up a lifeguard stand in front of the ESPN Zone at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore on Monday and enticed people to try to win prizes including a three-day stay in the resort and a number of other prizes, including a surfboard from K-Coast Surf Shop.
“This guy Blake [Adams] is not just some actor who poses for pictures, and dresses like a lifeguard,” said Meehan. “He was just amazing as he was calling out to people walking by and everything he said promoted our town so well. It was obvious after the first day that he is just one of those types of people that everyone seems to like.”
The tour hit a bit of a snag on Tuesday as all media interviews and the on-street promotion were cancelled due to the Washington DC metro crash on Monday.
“After the tragedy, everyone had their routines altered so much, and none of the stations had anyone available or time available as everything was about what happened on the metro, so we thought it would be the right thing to do to cancel the appearances,” said Meehan.
In Philadelphia on Wednesday, Meehan said that Rodney shined once again on a morning news show and at the Shops at Liberty Place in the heart of the city of brotherly love.
“Philadelphia is a new market for us, and since so many people go to the Jersey shore, we really wanted to differentiate ourselves from Ocean City, New Jersey,” said Meehan. “We were on the hottest corner in the city and Rodney did a phenomenal job getting people excited and wanting to come to our town. I mean he basically stayed in character for three straight days.”
AVP Wants To Come Back
Representatives from the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) say they were very pleased with not only the turnout, but by the fan support of last weekend’s professional volleyball tournament that will be re-run nationally on ESPN2 and FOX Sports Net over the course of the summer.
Alison Shapiro, public relations manager for the AVP, said that an estimated 10,000 people attended the weekend tournament, which was delayed due to poor weather on Saturday.
“We thought it was a great event and the fans in Ocean City were absolutely amazing,” said Shapiro. “The athletes love playing on a real beach, and even with the delay on Saturday, the athletes were so pleased with how many passionate fans came back to support them.”
The AVP sold 2,000 tickets on the rainy Saturday alone, and Shapiro hopes that they will return next year and in years to come.
“We would love to continue to come back year after year, and we hope and feel confident that it will happen,” said Shapiro.
As far as results go, the Ocean City tournament brought two major upsets as gold medal winning and defending world champions Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers were defeated by third-seeded John Hyden and Sean Scott, for the second straight tournament, in the men’s final on Sunday, while second-seeded Jennifer Kessy and April Ross knocked off the top-seeded team of Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs.
Positive Reviews For Beachfest
Ocean City promoters Brad Hoffman and Brian Stoehr have had tons of success with their annual car shows, but they hoped to get a citywide active lifestyle event that would promote the surf and skate culture that is so prevalent here on the Eastern Shore.
The first year for Beachfest was admittedly not a record breaker, but it did make a positive mark, according to Hoffman.
Dealing with the same rain issues as the AVP experienced over the weekend, Hoffman said that the first year of the event was well received, but it didn’t bring in the numbers that they had hoped in just its first year.
“We know just from the participation of all the events and from the reactions from the spectators that this is an event that people want to be apart of,” said Hoffman. “We know that this is a great event for the town, and we hope that (town officials) will get behind us next year and help us promote the event. But, in the first year, despite a tornado warning and two solid thunderstorms, for a mostly outdoor event, I thought it went very well considering all of that.”
Hoffman estimated crowds of almost 2,000 with over 700 participants in a number of outdoor events including a sprint triathlon, a family fun run, surf and skate competitions as well as a ticketed showcase of vendors and entertainment at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.